Rule of law

November 21, 2015 § 58 Comments

People like to make fun of lawyers, and there are some pretty good lawyer jokes out there, but the humor drops off pretty quickly when people have a serious problem and they want it solved without resorting to fisticuffs or bullets.

“I don’t believe in lawsuits,” is an introduction that every plaintiff lawyer has heard more times than he can count, immediately before, of course the client hires him to sue someone.

My daughter Cassady passed the California bar yesterday on her first try, which is more than I can say; it took me two whacks to get my bar card. There is no public record of how many times it took you to pass, so naturally every lawyer I’ve ever met says they “passed it on the first try” even though the statistics show that about 46% of the people who pass in any given year are repeaters. Lawyer joke: Bar results help attorneys get started lying early.

As a bike injury lawyer I’m immune to such humor unless it’s good, in which case I laugh at it. But as a “lawyer” lawyer, i.e. someone who sees his job as something more than a meatgrinder for insurance transactions, I can tell you that we’re entering a period of history when we need more courts, more judges, and a lot more lawyers.

I’ll point out that the alternative to living in a place that is governed by the rule of law is Russia, Uzbekistan, or Syria. And I’ll point out that most of the founding fathers of the USA were lawyers. But mostly I’ll point out this: Our country faces the single greatest political threat to its existence since the Civil War, a war that was fought, by the way, when one side fired its legal defense team and brought in the gun nuts.

This threat is Donald Trump. Many people believe that he has zero chance of winning. Others think that he has some good ideas. People who are paying attention are profoundly concerned, most especially the “moderate” wing of the GOP, which spent decades screeching in lockstep with the southern GOP about abortion, god, and gun rights, and is now amazed that most of their party can talk of nothing else.

To be brief: Everyone who believes in the rule of law needs to print this in bold black letters and place it on the fridge: DONALD TRUMP WON’T RULE OUT A NATIONAL REGISTRY OF PEOPLE BASED ON ETHNICITY AND/OR RELIGION.

First, let’s look at the policy. Trump, like a lot of Americans, thinks that Syrian refugees pose a security threat to this country.  Second, let’s look at the strategy, as delineated by Trump in an online interview with Yahoo News:

Yahoo News asked Trump whether his push for increased surveillance of American Muslims could include warrantless searches. He suggested he would consider a series of drastic measures.

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said. “And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.

“We’re going to have to — we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said when presented with the idea. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.” Trump has never shied away from saying what he described in this instance as the “frankly unthinkable.”

Balled up in these three paragraphs are the complete destruction of the rule of law. Highlight them if you need to:

  1. Consider warrantless searches for Muslims.
  2. Track Muslims in a database or give them ID cards that note their religion.
  3. Do the “frankly unthinkable.”

If this doesn’t scare the hell out of you, it should at least make you think, because an ID system that registers people by ethnicity and denotes their religion is exactly how Germany approached the “Jewish Problem” in the 1930’s. Leaving aside the fact that such policies would upend more than 200 years of constitutional law, the language of the U.S. Constitution itself, and the very essence of democracy … wait, let’s not leave that behind.

The Republican Party now has as its undisputed frontrunner a person who, if elected, will be required to take an oath to support a constitution that he has already promised to tear into pieces.

Unlike the claim made in NRA propaganda, the first thing dictators go after is never the guns. The first thing they go after are the laws, then the judges, then the lawyers. Only after the rule of law has been hung by the neck until dead can you go after everything else.

Got any more lawyer jokes?



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog, but it’s not always about the bike. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Missin’ you

November 20, 2015 § 9 Comments

Dear E.A.:

I miss you. Remember the first time we met, on the NPR? You were wearing a backpack and I called you “Backpack Boy.” You were one of three people then who would hammer like a fuggin’ monster, then still bake everyone in the sprunt.

Then a few weeks later you shed the backpack and started showing up in that ugly OTR kit. Only I couldn’t make fun of it because I couldn’t talk hanging onto your wheel.

After a few months I learned your name. Dude, you were the best addition to cycling in the South Bay since coffee. It wasn’t long after that that you started showing up for Cat 4 races, all of which you won, and then Cat 3 races, and the epic rivalry with Prez began.

Except you smeared him like a bug on the windshield of a Ferrari and catted up to 2, then 1. Dude, everybody wanted to be your friend then. Even though you doubled in fitness and speed every month you still talked to me. Remember how we became friends? Or rather, how I tried to be friends with you and you tolerated me?

Then when we were teammates it was super awesome. We never raced together because I was still a Cat 5 after thirty years, but we wore the same jersey and I told everyone I knew you and that we were teammates.

And that doesn’t even begin to get into that epic ride to Mandeville where you called your wife at the top and left a message except your phone wasn’t working and you didn’t know that and you bonked on the way home and I had to carry you across the handlebars and when we got home it was dark and your wife was, um, how shall we say this, “displeased,” and I hurried home and pretended it wasn’t my fault.

Man! The awesome times we had! Remember when I borrowed your truck that morning for an hour or so and returned it at midnight with that little character ding in the grill and the thing with the axle? (I have no idea how it happened.) Then there was the time I showed up on the way home from work and you gave me a ride home that sixteen or eighteen times or so and fed me dinner, too, and beer.

And what about the good times with Smasher? And Boozy P.? And how we’d spend most of your savings for your daughter’s college fund at bike races? And that epic trip to Bend where you drove for 30 hours in the F-1 Prius while Smasher and I drank beer and slept? You are an awesome driver!!

So it’s with heavy heart that I think about your absence. I know you have a family and a job and all that junk and you’re rebuilding your house from the slab and work is really busy and you don’t have a bike anymore and the team folded but think of all the great times!!

Anyway, Smasher has pretty much moved back to the South Bay and Boozy P. went on a bike ride last Saturday and I need to borrow fifty bucks. Whattya say? Flog ride next week, or NPR?

Miss you like the sister I never had!



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog, and contribute to the “Bring Back E.A. Kickstarter Fund.” Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Grandbaby training

November 18, 2015 § 10 Comments

It has been a long time since I spent much time around a fresh baby, and I had forgotten how tiny they were and etc.

A lot of Grandpas, okay, a nutty handful, dream of the day they will be able to train with their grandkid. I guess that’s okay, but I have raised three kids and am pretty sure that there is a mathematical law out there that goes like this:

Parent/Grandpa’s cycling enthusiasm is inversely proportionate to that of child/grandchild.

Instead, after having almost three whole weeks of grandpahood under my belt, it seems to me that there is a great Grandbaby Training Plan out there waiting to be sold on the Internet and etc. Why is that? Because grandbabies have it flat fuggin’ all figured out. Here’s how it goes:


  1. Shit a lot. Grandbabies shit all the time, in big quantities. So they have clean innards and aren’t carrying around any extra weight.
  2. Drink a lot of warm milk. When grandbabies aren’t shitting, they are drinking warm milk. I don’t think you can get the “real” stuff without running into trouble, but fact is that grandbabies love breasts and warm milk. You could maybe separate the two by heating up a pail of cow’s milk in the microwave and then snuggling with your Ms. WM in the evening.
  3. Sleep all the time. Grandbabies, if they aren’t shitting or sucking on a warm nipple gushing milk, are sleeping. Sleep makes you rested and increases your VO2 max and wattage and etc.
  4. Holler like a motherfucker. Grandbabies don’t say “maybe.” When they are hungry, or have a poopy diaper, or want more warm milk and nipples, they howl at the top of their lungs. This oxygenates their whole body and scares the bejeebers out of you. When you are training you can occasionally holler really loud to oxygenate your gonads and etc.
  5. Get everyone to call you “cutie.” Grandbabies have everyone calling them “cutie” and “precious” and “sweetie” and “li’l umpkins” and “honey-poopsie” and etc. This makes them happy. You will train like a badass baller when you are happy from having your pals call you “li’l umpkins.”
  6. Snuggle. Grandbabies snuggle like nobody’s business and you should mix in a big beefy snuggle with your training partner in between interval workouts, even if he’s named “Maxwell O’Hairball” or “Svetlana Oglepits.” Especially if he’s named “Svetlana Oglepits.”
  7. Coo and gurgle. Grandbabies love to coo and gurgle. Instead of spitting up three pounds of old burrito during a hard workout, try cooing and gurgling instead. It is soft and precious and will make the edges of your mouth curl up cutely and etc.
  8. Get pushed around in a pram. It’s true that you have to ride a bike when you train, but the rest of the time you should have a matronly sort with a nursing bra pushing you around in a big pram or wheelchair to rest your leg muscles and varicose veins and etc. You ever see a grandbaby walk anywhere? No.
  9. Wash off in the sink. Grandbabies love to get washed in the kitchen sink. This saves water, which saves money, which means you’ll have more money to spend on 100% full carbon components that are all carbon and etc. If you can’t fit in the sink just wash one body part at a time, but not while your Ms. WM is cooking dinner, especially that body part.
  10. Flop around naked on your back while someone else wipes your butt. The awesomeness of this is pretty much self explanatory and etc.



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog, because fact is, grandbabies rule. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!



November 17, 2015 § 11 Comments

“It’s a testament to Mark,” he said.

It was, because Mark is a good man. And it wasn’t, because it happened thanks to a cadre of friends sitting down on the bench and taking up a long heavy oar.

It is easy to fall into the black hole of bad news. Once you fall in, following each twist and turn of the catastrophe of the day, it is hard to climb out. Bad news surrounds us.

Good news, like good love, is hard to find. The minute something good or happy rolls across your desk, questions set in. No one questions that Person A is greedy, Person B is insane, or that Person C is a sociopath, but everyone questions Person D who did the good thing. What the hell were HIS real motives?

I can’t help it, and you probably can’t, either. Sometimes, however, people do good things and it’s as simple as that.

This past Sunday over three hundred people gathered in Dana Point to raise money and seek a bone marrow donor match for Mark Scott. They didn’t show up by magic. They showed up because Dave Worthington, Tommy Nelson, Lauren Ames, and Russ Ames put together an informal committee to get the word out about Mark’s plight.

Knocking on doors, working the phones, banging away at the keyboards, The Committee put their money where their love was, and who could say no to that?

Many of the people didn’t know Mark and had never heard of him. But they were compelled by the love and devotion of his friends to show up and be a part of something bigger than themselves, which happens to be the definition of community, and not coincidentally of humanity.

Some of the people hugging and crying were pretty gruff folks in their day jobs, and that’s part of the good news, too. But the biggest news, of course, is old news, the news that when one person decides to make the cause of another his own, he becomes a small stone tossed into a gigantic, perfectly calm sea. He sends forth ripples and they touch everyone and everything in their path.

I think someone once wrote a song about that.



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog, or not. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Bikes not bombs

November 16, 2015 § 33 Comments

Three days after the attacks in Paris most Americans have done all they will ever do: Shown their solidarity on social media with a cute French flag makeover.

A few people will take things a step farther and forcefully argue their thoughtful opinions. “Bomb those fucking terrorist Arab motherfuckers back into the Stone Age,” is a common refrain. These folks seem not to realize that we’ve done exactly that, and that Stone Age people are remarkably resilient and persistent and inventive. The Stone Agers now have a new country, a fully functioning oil economy, access to international finance, and a modern global media empire with a message that is somewhat more successful in enlisting support than, say, “An Army of 1,” or “Free College Tuition and a $10,000 Signing Bonus and a $100,000 Death Payout for Your Parents.”

Me? I think it is pretty simple. When you start a war you have to finish it. And if you don’t finish it then you’re still at war. And if you’re still at war the other guy will keep killing your guys. And you’ll keep killing his. Etc.

So how do you finish a war? That too is pretty simple. Someone has to say, “Let’s stop fighting now,” and the other side has to agree. In the old days the guy who said “Let’s stop fighting now,” was the guy getting his ass kicked. He waved a white flag or his army dropped their shit and ran away and the generals signed papers that said “You kicked our butt good my bad how much do I owe you?”

Then people continued on until they got mad again, usually about having lost the previous war, and the whole thing recycled.

It is pretty clear that our new war has way too many parties to ever stop. Like whack-a-mole, Whack-a-Stone-Ager results in a new pissed off group popping up and picking up where the smeared remains of the last Stone Ager left off, usually because one of our planes mistakenly bombed their wedding or bombed their hospital or bombed their kindergarten or bombed their peaceful village.

Nowadays there’s not even anyone on the other side to sign anything, even if they wanted to stop fighting. In fact, there is no “other side.”

It’s just a bunch of mad people with guns, kind of like Texas, except that lots more people died at the hands of mad Americans with guns in 2013 than, say, died from anything ISIS ever did. Even though the 34,000 Americans shot to death by each other aren’t nearly as important as the 129 people shot in France over the weekend, the landscape is the same: The war is unending, there’s no one to make peace with, and random killing is something that is a sad fact of life, kind of like herpes.

The good news is that while people debate whether the best solution to war is to post something clever on Twitter or to bomb the people we’ve already bombed into the Neolithic back even farther, say to the Mesolithic or even the Upper Paleolithic, there is something fun and simple you can do for world peace:

Ride your fuggin’ bike and encourage everyone else to ride theirs, too.

Here are some Bicycle Peace Facts:

  1. No one ever invaded another country on a bike. Successfully, I mean.
  2. When you are riding a bike you feel happy instead of wanting to kill strangers. Unless you are racing.
  3. When given the choice, children will choose riding bikes over killing people.
  4. Children always prefer riding bikes with their parents rather than burying them.
  5. Regular bicycle exercise makes you fit, whereas being blown to bits by a cluster bomb does not.
  6. Fat generals and politicians on bikes are too out of breath to give commands like “Invade!” or “Kill!” or “Bomb them into the Stone Age!”
  7. When you put a terrorist on a bike, he will pedal madly for a while before he gets tired and thirsty, then bonks, then stops at a convenience store for some Gatorade and a piss, after which he sits down on the curb, hangs his head, gives up on the destination, and prepares for the trip home.
  8. You can’t be full aero with a suicide belt. Plus, they are too heavy and slow you down on the climbs.
  9. An entire nation can be terrified of getting shot at, but not at being ridden past.
  10. If you invite someone for a coffee ride, they will like you.



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog, and if you just ride your bike you’ll make the world a better place. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Grandpa power

November 15, 2015 § 18 Comments

I stared at my giant bowl, sloshing to the brim with amazing chicken chili, the plate next to it runneth-ing over with chips, guac, salsa, goat cheese, giant shrimp pan-fried in ceviche sauce, a bowling ball rack of mini-cornbread, and a dessert plate groaning under two slabs of pecan pie towering with Antarctica glaciers of vanilla ice cream.

The ice cream was melting rapidly, and two thoughts occurred to me:

  1. “My legs feel like that soft puddle of melted ice cream.”
  2. “Historically they fed the lambs BEFORE the slaughter.”

Nice Michael Smith, the single nicest human being I’ve ever met through cycling, had invited a blood-soaked cadre of young assassins to his house for a Saturday “fun ride” through Orange County. The “fun ride” was to be followed by a glorious feast of food items that I normally could only gaze at from afar when trolling the oatmeal and peanut butter aisles at Safeway.

However, the night before the “fun ride” I took a look at the final start list and immediately ran to the potty. One name, writ large, Manzilla, was followed by a list of people whose only known function in life was to hurt other people. Smasher, Alx Bns, the Moldovan Murderer, Meatgrinder, Search, some Italian dude (what do they know about cycling?), All Stairs, Bo, and of course Nice Michael Smith himself.

I called up Nice Michael. “Dude,” I said, “I can’t make it tomorrow for the ride. Can I just come by afterwards and eat?”

“Sure,” he said, “what’s up?”

“I’m riding so incredibly well right now, clumbing and sprunting and time trailing and such, that I need to back it off for a week and looking at the start list you clowns are gonna throw down and I’m gonna get sucked in and go too hard and wind up hurt and overtrained which I pretty much already am here in early fuggin’ November.”

“Don’t worry, you can chill. Boozy P. and CEO will be there.”

“They will?” My fears evaporated.


Boozy P., who is normally pretty fierce on the bike, is only fit for six months every three years; the rest of the time he works on bikes between drinks. CEO is a great guy to ride with because he’s slower than a Tonka truck and super fun to talk with. In other words, I’d have company.

The morning of the “fun ride” I arrived, desperately searching for Boozy P. and CEO. Neither was there. “Yo, Michael,” I said, “where are my ride mates?”

“Oh, CEO changed his mind and decided to go to a kiddie soccer game, and I think Boozy P. forgot to set his alarm.”

“Those fuckers.”

On the way from Los Alamitos to our first obstacle, the San Joachim climb, we pushed along PCH, which from Long Beach is fifteen miles of road sliced by three hundred stop lights. The strong young people sat on the front and kept a steady, battering pace into the wind. Each time I got closer to the front we’d catch a light and I’d do my “whoops how do these pedal thingies work” trick and fumble with my pedal until the group was past, click in, and sneak up to the rear again. In this manner I avoided ever taking a pull.

At the launch site we paused while Nice Michael Smith explained the climb and administered last rites. “Grandpa here is riding super strong so he’ll see you all at the top,” Nice Michael said with cruel irony, and bam we were off. I hopped onto Manzilla’s wheel, grimly prepared to have my legs torn off and the dangling tendons wrapped around my nuts as Manzilla would tear off his own leg and beat me to death with it.

In 148 head-to-head match-ups, none of which Manzilla has ever been aware of, I have finished a climb ahead of him exactly twice, and both days have been circled on my calendar and turned into Davidson National Family Holidays. The first time I wept openly; the second time I slaughtered a goat and several virgins.

Today was apparently not going to be the third time because after a handful of minutes he pushed down on the pedals with such brute force that the spinning rear wheel left a three-inch divot in the asphalt. I attacked backwards as Smasher, Pink Sox, Nice Michael, Alx, and All Stairs pounded by, fighting each other for the honor of grabbing Manzilla’s rear wheel with much the same senselessness of kids playing “Kill the man with the ball,” where everyone chases after something, the attainment of which only results in getting your face beaten in.

Manzilla kicked it again and everyone decided that they had reached their training goals for the day except Smasher and Pink Sox, whose coaches had prescribed a few more kicks to the groin, which Manzilla dutifully delivered before soloing to the top. We gathered, one by one, piece by piece, quietly and gasping.

“How much more climbing is there?” I begged Nice Michael.

“Just one more.”

That was terrible news. If there were six more, they would be gentler. If there was only one more, it would be the Night of the Living Dead. We descended Newport Coast, rode into Laguna Beach, and passed a pretty high school as we began the climb. Smasher suddenly bolted ahead and the conversation silenced. None of us knew the road except Nice Michael, and I was now referring to him in my head as Sonofabitch Michael Bastardass.

The road went steeply up. “Manzilla is gonna bridge to Smasher now and I’m gonna follow him,” I thought to myself, and half of that was true.

I don’t know how steep or long the climb was, but it devastated everyone except Manzilla. Smasher lingered on his wheel for a while until, annoyed by the breathing and the smell of Smashers’ freshly upchucked lungs, he kicked it and vanished.

The whole climb was surreal, and not just because it was endless and mostly 18-percent. It was surreal because as we heroically battered our way to the top, driving wooden stakes into the entrails of our enemies, engaging in the fiercest hand-to-hand combat as we toiled to the top, the ferocity of competition and the viciousness of the climb created the expectation that the victors would scale the summit, a lonely and desolate peak occupied at most by a wizened wise man sitting in a cave dispensing The Truth, or perhaps there would be a cairn that had stood there for a thousand years and only those strong and valiant enough to survive the climb to this desolate peak would be allowed to scratch their names into the stone, perhaps with their fingernails or with the smushed testicles of the vanquished.

Instead, the top was populated by hundreds of nice people and tourists, and there was even a middle school a few yards from the top where you could hear someone saying, “Here you go, Jenny,” as they opened the car door for an elderly lady who was about to enjoy the same precious view as you with none of the entrails ejecta.

It felt like climbing to the top of Mt. Everest on your elbows and having to stand in line behind a dozen plump people in wheelchairs as you waited for your chance to sign the book.

We regrouped at the Starbucks in Laguna Beach and spent an hour or so looking at the beautiful ocean and making excuses for our weak performances, “I’m a grandpa,” I repeated seventy-five times.

“I just had shims put in my shoes,” excusified the Moldovan Murderer.

“I thought we were going easy,” said Search.

“It’s the off season,” everyone else echoed in chorus, except Manzilla, whose only seasons are Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall, and Kill, which runs concurrently with the other four.

Happily, our group got a bit separated after we climbed Newport Coast, and Manzilla stopped to fix a flat. “We’ll just roll ahead slow,” I said. Manzilla nodded and waved us on. As soon as we were a couple of hundred yards away I put it in the 53 and started sprunting.

With the tailwind we were soon doing mid-30’s. “Catch this, you bastard,” I said as our greased paceline rocketed through red lights, around terrified people trying to get into or out of their cars, past pedestrians innocently crossing the street, and over road detritus that no one pointed out to anyone else, hoping to achieve through flats, equipment failure, or crashing what couldn’t be done through strength.

By the time we got through Huntington Beach some of our crew were feeling the ill effects of the sustained effort, and after checking in with their Internet coaches determined that it was probably time to go easy. Everyone, that is, except Nice Michael, whose true character came to the fore as he battered his teammates and young friends off the back one by one until no one was left but Smasher.

We got back to Nice Michael’s and hurriedly changed so that when Manzilla arrived we could pretend we’d been there for an hour, rather than for five minutes as we knew that he’d single-handedly make up our entire 10-person advantage in very short order.

In addition to getting mostly last up both climbs and being shed rather quickly from the pace line, my body shivered and shook as I plowed through the diet-busting plates of food, all prepared by Nice Michael’s astonishingly beautiful wife, who was as expert a cook as she was lovely.

“I’m a grandpa, you know,” I said loudly to no one, hoping that some of the youngsters would drop a kernel of praise or two for my lackluster performance.

No one said a word.



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog, and learn to never do rides with people nicknamed “Nice.” Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Veterans give thanks to Americans after Veterans Day

November 14, 2015 § 16 Comments

America’s veterans today gave thanks to the U.S. public for its incredible outpouring of support for the nation’s military on Veterans Day. “We are humbled,” said Billy McGuts, USMC retired. “All those Facebook posts mean more than anyone will ever know.”

Cycling in the South Bay, whose Facebook, Twitter, and newsfeeds were overwhelmed by grateful Americans, got on the company bicycle and ventured forth to speak with veterans about this momentous day and about how they feel knowing how profoundly they are loved and respected.

Our first veteran, Sam Stone, a Vietnam War veteran who we met in downtown LA, was effusive. “Those Facebook posts, man, they get you right here,” said Stone as he clapped his remaining hand over his heart, maneuvering himself to sit upright on the curb as he sipped thoughtfully from his bottle of purple wine. “You’re sitting here alone at night, cold and hungry, and bam, Twitter lights up with all those hashtags. Brings tears to your eyes.”

We next rode over to the VA Hospital, where the morning after Veterans Day a long line of wounded and ill veterans stood in a very long line as they waited to enter the building to get reservations for appointments for consultations for case reviews for approval for seeing a doctor for consideration of possible medical treatment. The mood was happy and grateful. “I’ve been waiting for this appointment for six months and to tell the truth the pain was getting kind of bad,” said Tommy Smith, who served four tours in Iraq. “But when I saw how many people posted proud photos of their dads from World War II on their newsfeed, man, I knew I could wait another couple of months before blowing my brains out. I know I can.”

A large group of thankful unemployed veterans crowded around this blogger when he cycled over to the the CalWorks office, each veteran eager to tell his tale of gratitude.

“Jobs? Hell yes we need jobs,” said John Jones, a Specialist First Class who served six combat tours in Afghanistan before mustering out with 50% disability after losing his left leg, an eye, and the lower part of his jaw. “But you know what we really need? We need Americans who are proud of us. Americans who know how to say ‘Thank you for your service!’ in the airport, and who give us a seat on the bus. That means something. Jobs, food, housing, clothes, medical care, education, well, you can’t have it all, you know? But a yellow ribbon on the bumper sticker of a Mercedes SUV? That means more to a veteran than all the food and medicine and money put together.”

Cal Calhoun, who served with the Special Forces in Mosul, agreed. “Just because Americans and Congress wouldn’t send their own kids to war doesn’t mean they don’t value us or what we do. My Facebook feed exploded yesterday. Even if I had a job I wouldn’t have had time to work, scrolling through all those thank-you’s.” Calhoun’s eyes teared up as he spoke.

Finally, we cycled to the LA County Jail, where we were granted interviews with a wide range of shackled inmates, many there for a few months, others simply stopping by on their way to life sentences at Corcoran State Prison. “Jail, it ain’t nothin’,” said Mark Doughty, a recent returnee from Afghanistan. “Fact, it’s kind of like the army. They tell you when to eat, when to sleep, when to get up, and when to shit. Food’s better, too,” he mused. “And the jail’s so full of veterans you don’t ever get lonely, and if you do, on Veteran’s Day we always get a lot of cheering up from Facebook and hashtags and such. I’m hoping one of these days I might even get a lawyer.”

On behalf of America’s veterans, Cycling in the South Bay says, “Thank YOU, America!”



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 831 other followers